For Forensic Fanatics


I know we all love a little bit of true crime in our lives. This area has become so popular in recent years with everyone engrossed in conversation about the next, new Netflix serial killer documentary. I myself have been a true crime lover for many years and it inspires many aspects of my life; my favourite literature genre, my underlying career passion, and my newfound love for podcasts.


I will admit, I am quite late to the podcast game, but when I first started listening to podcasts earlier this year, I became entranced–and now I am hooked. Although I have not tested out too many, it did not take me long at all to find the two that would catch the attention of my ears and become my favourites: Crime Junkie and The Deck.


Although, The Deck holds a special place in my heart and is the essence of this article, I strongly suggest you give Crime Junkie a listen as well, as this podcast led me to The Deck. Both are hosted by the incredible Ashley Flowers.


The Deck podcast is based on a really interesting true crime concept, and one in which I had never come across previously; cold case playing cards. If you are like me, and have never heard of this concept before now, you might be feeling a trill of excitement like I was when this podcast launched in February of this year. Essentially, there is a common initiative in the US where law enforcement agencies replace traditional decks of playing cards with the images and information of missing and murdered people, in hopes inmates will have further information on these cold cases. Each episode instils hope that a listener may have more information about the case and will come forward, and there is also information provided as to how to do so. What an absolutely brilliant idea! 


Frankly, I hope that this is all you needed to hear to spark your interest; but nevertheless, let me introduce you to Linda Smith, the 9 of Hearts Idaho; the first card featured on The Deck.


Linda, 14, was asleep at her home in 1981 when she awoke to an unexpected man in her bedroom. It is believed that this man took Linda from her room, carried her back through the Smith’s living room, where her 9-year-old brother Ben had fallen asleep. Ben awoke and tried to hastily follow the pair but was shoved down. He never saw his sister alive again.


To this day, the person is still unidentified.


In the early days of Linda’s disappearance, it was believed by authorities that Linda had chosen to run away that night, and that the story provided by Ben was just the result of a child’s imagination. However, not long after, clothing showed up off a highway exit that was positively identified as Linda’s, but–would you believe it–local police still did not believe Linda was abducted. A year went by without much movement in the case until human remains were found and identified as Linda Smith. Finally, authorities announced it was believed that foul play was involved. Unfortunately, with the passing of time, the chance to collect potentially essential evidence was lost. Considering the statistics stating that it is very rare that true stranger abductions occur, alongside the Smiths’ open-door policy, there is belief that the perpetrator may not be unknown to the family. On the other hand, the remains of other young girls were found in the area sparking concerns of a different nature, with the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy being on the list of possibilities until he was ruled out due to the timeline of his stints in jail.


The mysteries surrounding Linda’s abduction and murder remain, but there is no doubt that this case may have been completely different if those first responding officers had taken Ben seriously.  

Tegan Stettaford

Tegan Stettaford

Hello! My name is Tegan and I joined the Opus team in 2021 as an outlet to escape my PhD writing. I am yet to find my niche category, but you can probably expect pieces about postgraduate life, creativity, psychology, literature and all things cute and fuzzy. Outside of Opus and my PhD, I am also a peer mentor, team leader, tutor, and sessional academic (so you might just see me in class sometime!).